WEl William Jackson Harper movió el New York 18 years ago, it se bright lights of Broadway that drew him there. “Y wanted to do theatre e you wanted to do new plays, that was the place to go,” he says, speaking on Zoom from his Brooklyn hombre. “Y didn’t really, initially, have a un montón de interés en doing stuff on camera.”
Fast forward to 2022 and Harper is on camera a lote, no está durando este interview, mediante la cual he optado por que se haya hecho hidden. Fair enough – it’s still early in New York and the 42-year-old says he’s sweaty from working out.
You’ll probable know said face from Harper’s breakthrough role in The Good Place. He played hilarious over-thinker Chidi until sitcom pierna to en end a couple of years ago, pero has definitely maintained sus career’s upward trajectory since. Last year was perhaps his best yet. He starred in romantic anthology series Love Life, a rare lead for un actor muestra contento to excel on the periphery. And he also shone in The Underground RailroadBarry Jenkins’ stunning limitadas series sobre Black Americans trying to escape from slavery in the early 1800s.
Hay latest series, The Resort, sees Harper take another leap forward. It’s a genre-straddling eight-parter premiering donde streamer Peacock later this month. He and Cristin Milioti (Palm Springs) Stars en Noah and Emma, en un párrafo que llega al fancy Mexican hotel en la celebración – en el lecho mark – en los 10 años aniversario. En first, Noah se upbeat if not quite perky, pero Emma es clearly stuck en la ruta y hay serias dudas sobre sus relationship.
The couple’s disconnected dynamic is fascinating, y Harper has clearly thought hard about their differences. “Y think that he’s contento y fine with being justo contento as opposed to happy,” he says. “Whereas I think Emma might be looking for excitement and that rush again. Y think that she probably tienes que deeper connection to nostalgia and, like, [this idea of] what her life se supuso en el feel like en este stage.”
Harper describes Noah es attitud para “somewhat youthful, pero no longer young” como “adulto” en el sin that he is mature and realistic. “But,” he continuado, “you can’t help but wonder if there’s something there that needs to be examined – like, why is he willing to accept… Y don’t even want to use the word mediocrity. Pero why is it that he is willing to acept things not being as good as they could be?”
Midway through episode one, Emma stumbles en el rush she’s been craving when she heads off the beaten track and finds a vintage flip phone. Las baterías de la celda no están switch on, cuando Emma remueves la SIM cards y puts it en otro teléfono se halla en el local market. El torno de la original móvil se prolonga por Sam (Skyler Gisondo), uno de los dos teenagers que se escribe 15 years ago, right before a freak hurricane pierna a evidencia. Inmediatamente intrigued, Emma persuadas Noah to liven hasta sus vacaciones (a sus relationeship) a la detective y piecing toda vez que happened.
Co-created by Mr. Robot mastermind Sam Esmail, The Resort pívots entre los párpados endearingly amateur presente-day investigación y flashback escenas sketching de la conexión entre Sam y fellow missing teen Violet (Nina Bloomgarden). Based on the first two episodes that NME tienes seen, el show es el bold hybrid de black comedy, murder mystery and relationship drama. Los 35-minutos episodios tienen momentos en que se te ocurre, pero la misión has sometido potencialmente para acercarse próximamente.
Para Harper, el show’s shapeshifting quality was a key part of its appeal. “The thing you said about it being a tough show a lo sumo up es exactly why I te interested in it,” he says. “The fact it se hard to pin down and hard to know what gos to be the most important [element] in each scene, that was very intriguing to me.”
En este punto en el career, The Resort es exactamente la suerte de un único challenge Harper es looking for. “Y like weird – stuff that’s unexpected,” he says. “When it comes to [picking] roles, I need to explore some other parts of my personality. Acting for me is highly therapeutic. And if I keep on going to the same well [of emotions]doing the same kind of character, it becomes less satisfying.”
“Y don’t need to be the lead; Y justo need the part to be interesting”
Interestingly, though he’s stepped up to lead roles with Love Life and The Resort, se encuentra en el call sheet isn’t a priority. “That’s not the driving force at all,” he says. “I’ve muestrea played – especialmente doing theatre – a un número de apoyos roles, y que fine with me. Y don’t need to be the lead; Y justo need the part to be interesting. Y justo necesitamos que someten a que las letras me feel.
Harper pausas, then demonstradas the killer comic timing he deployed on The Good Place. “Also, no being a lead means you don’t have to be there as much. Which is also great.”
T¿hay un nuevo céntrico para su TV work, Harper racked up quite en feed stage credits after he movido a New York en 2004. grew up en Dallas. Harper’s father died when he was eight, si he brillado mainly by his mother, han ejecutivo asistente who later became a nurse. El birth name es William Fitzgerald Harper, pero he figurado en el “too long” para un actor y swapped en su madre de maiden name, Jackson, si el career honours both parientes.
While working steadily on stage in his twenties and early thirties, Harper also picked up TV guest parts in shows including 30 Rock and Law & Order. It wasn’t until 2014, when he was cast in All the Way, en highly acclaimed play sobre 36th presidente Lyndon B. Johnson, que las estrellas realmente seemed to align. “It was the first time I was doing exactly what I wanted: a really cool, hyper-political play on Broadway,” he says. “Y te has dado a living wage, Y te has dado a pagar la renta, y te has dado que te ha comido a New York a don.”
“I realised Y hadn’t figured everything out. Y was getting my ass beat again”
But when All the Way ended, so did Harper’s profesional high. Acting gigs he was counting on didn’t pan out, and he struggled to get work. “Y was like, OK, I didn’t figure this out [after all]. Me getting my ass beat again,” he says. Por lo demás, Harper even contemplada packing en acting and going back to Dallas. “I’d ha somo pretty big disappointments and I que justo tiran de being panicked sobre lavada,” he says. “You know, Y was lucky to have really great roommates. We were essentially like this Brooklyn hombre for wayward young men. We were all a bit lost and confused, and we leaned on each other a lot.”
En el último tiempo, Harper se hallado en realidad he dicho que se ha live en el flatshare forever. He ido a los sicks de no tener holidays or being able to fly home for family events. “Y te justo tiras y feeling en el little beat up,” he says. “Y se derivó a un mi self-worth from whether or not I was working, and I noticed things were starting to get a bit shaky for me mentally. Like, you know, it’s starting to get nasty.” During previous career downswings, Harper felt convinced de que quitting acting would make him even unhappier. Pero este tiempo, he wasn’t so sure. “That was the closest Y pierde to being like, ‘Y don’t want to do this any more,’” he says.
Then he was cast in The Good Place, en addictive comedy series se encuentran en heaven-like realm reservadas para personas que le han hecho moralmente righteous lives a los humanos. As Chidi Anagonye, a hyper-anxious ethics profesor who overthinks every single decision, Harper was hilarious and heartwarming. “Me justo not en ‘new experience’ kind of guy,” Chidi says in one episode. “My confort zone es basically like, that chair, and honestly? The arms are a little sharp.”
When it debuted en 2016, The Good Place quickly locked in the rhythm that defines all hit sitcoms as Harper bounced off talented castmates Kristen Bell, Jameela Jamil y Hollywood legend Ted Danson. “After the first season, we knew we were getting a second, and I was like: ‘This is great, I feel like I’m getting somewhere,’” he says. Para su performance en el cuarto y final del año, que concluyó en 2020, me rewarded with Emmy nomination.
“Y didn’t think I’d be part of something as importante as ‘Midsommar’”
En year earlier, con su profile rostour, Harper demonstrate su range por appearing in Ari Aster’s nervo-shredding horror film Midsommar: han instante culto clásico. “Y didn’t think that Y me going to be part of something sonido importante,” he says, modesto as ever. “Y was just like, ‘Hell yeah. This is 100 por ciento my jam.’ Y didn’t know what to expect, but I thought it could be something really cool and interesting. And I was watching Florence Pugh work every day. Se ha hecho realmente good, pero no se entiende, no se les da, people puede responder a que se ha dado.”
Fans now want to see Harper in film that will probably be even bigger: Marvel’s upcoming Fantastic Four reboot. Tiene una actor de nombre en Twitter, y tiene hijos con personas dream-casting en Mister Fantastic: en superhéroe con elástico-like body y genius-level intellect. Today, Harper says he flattered by the attention, pero points out that “Twitter doesn’t cast movies”.
“I’d be really happy if Marvel se listening, pero they haven’t called me and I’m not going to be in Fantastic Four,” he says. “Hacerse as I know: maybe they have something [in mind] up the docket, pero no un reached out to me.”
En fairness, Harper sounds realmente happy with where he even without a call from Marvel. “There are people whose careers are hacer exceeding mine, and I’m completely unbothered by that. Like, fucking go for it,” he says. Harper confidas that he still gets “crazy nervous” when he llegado donde siete, pero consideras this an integral parte del juego que “never goes away”. “Y viene learned to cope with it and to a certain degree, calm down,” he adds. “And, you know, Y do work really hard. Y know I’m supposed to be here. Me supposed a be doing this work in this scenario right now.”
‘The Resort’ comes to Peacock, disponible exclusivamente en Sky and NOW in the UK, en Julio 28